Mazda CX-5 – Beauty is more than skin deep

Ian Lamming discovers that beauty is more than skin deep in the latest Mazda CX-5.

SOMETIMES I think designers panic in the pursuit of sales.

Same model name, but radical looks every couple of years, just to justify their existence I suppose.

Thing is, going all radical just for the sake of it can result in the new vehicles being so ugly that not even their mothers could love them. I can think of two in particular that have done just that but to spare their blushes I’ll not name them here – ask me in private if you see me.

Mazda doesn’t hold with that and look what you get; the CX-5, still as beautiful today as it was when it was launched but with the odd nip, tuck and polish making it more relevant than ever and still a feast for the eyes.

Those proportions, that nose and the rear remain as eye-catching as ever in a classical, refined and sophisticated way. No trick bits, no trendy add-ons, no hi-tech carbuncles, just sculpted elegance all the way and so much better for it.

But don’t be mistaken, don’t think that this means the CX-5 hasn’t been updated to keep it at the head of the field because it has and the latest special, the Kuro, one of just 750 being made, takes that to the nth degree.

This Kuro is powered by the 2.0-litre 165ps Skyactiv-G engine and comes with unique detailing, such as black mirror caps and black 19in alloy wheels. Love it. In Soul Red Crystal or Polymetal Grey it looks resplendent with a quality sheen that lifts it above many other SUVs, especially the ugly ones.

Inside screams quality too. The Kuro CX-5 features a power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and black half leatherette and suede seat trim. A black honeycomb patterned dashboard and door inserts are complemented by red stitching on the seats, steering wheel, knee pads, gearshift surround, armrest and door surround.

Other highlights include an upgraded infotainment system and the introduction of Connected Services. The centre 10.25-inch display unit is larger, faster and clearer and is linked to the more intuitive Mazda Connect Commander control on the centre console back from the gear lever.

On the road the ride and handling boast the same levels of quality and are both plush and controlled.

Under the bonnet, the latest Skyactiv-G engine works together with Mazda’s i-Activsense safety systems to deliver the power safely making CX-5 effortless to drive. No turbo or electric motor, just a super-efficient 2.0 litre petrol that provides generous amounts of oomph and economy – expect to be in the 40s when it comes to miles per gallon. It’s also cleaner, emitting 7-9g/km less CO2 . The six speed manual also features cylinder deactivation to save a bit more fuel.

It’s not just me who appreciates the CX-5’s many merits. To date, 490,849 units have been sold in Europe and more than 3.1million globally making it Mazda’s best-selling model. In the UK, the CX-5 accounts for 26 per cent of Mazda sales so it’s easy to see why the designers are happy to leave its lovely looks alone.

Fact File

Engine: CX-5 2.0 165ps Kuro

Power: 165PS

0-62mph: 10.3 secs

Top speed: 125mph

Combined MPG: 42.2

Transmission: Six-speed manual

CO2 g/km: 152

Price: £29,945.00